19.10.2017

‘All IT projects should be driven by government agencies’: Angus Taylor


Malcolm Turnbull’s digital transformation boss Angus Taylor sees a big role for the local IT industry in government, especially the smaller players, but he says the public service must never hand over the reins to the private sector.

“Project managers and project management must be driven by government, always,” Taylor told a local Canberra ABC journalist this week.

“There are skills that we want to get access to around the world, because governments around the world are doing interesting things, and it’s right and proper that we should access those skills as we need them.

“But you know it’s really very important that we focus on Australian employees and Australian businesses, and we are particularly focused on, where we do have to use outside providers, using smaller Australian businesses and this Canberra region has a fantastic opportunity to build up those businesses.”

He also said outsourcing was not having any impact at all on the Govpass project, which is now in private beta testing.

“I mean, this is being done by the Digital Transformation Agency,” Taylor said. “It’s an agency of government, a terrific group of energetic Australians who are committed to better services, a very pragmatic improvement in what government does and what it is.

“And the good news is: this is an agency of government and all IT projects should be driven by government agencies. They shouldn’t be, we shouldn’t be in the business of outsourcing an entire project to the private sector.”

The mention of Medicare cards in a DTA video released this week to explain the multi-factor process to sign up for a Govpass has led some to wonder if there is any potential for identity fraud via the new system, given concerns about the security of the Medicare number registry were serious enough to warrant a government review.

The Medicare card is only a minor part of signing up for a Govpass, however, and users also have to possess details of several other primary credentials such as a passport or birth certificate, pass a face verification check and set up two-factor authentication.

And, as Taylor told The Mandarin yesterday, the traditional system where a person looks at a photo ID card and then looks at the person who has just handed it to them is hardly rock-solid — and neither, for that matter, is the extremely old fashioned process of scribbling illegibly in your own personal style on a piece of paper.

“It’s much much harder for someone to commit some kind of identity fraud with a system like this in place,” he told the ABC.